CLARK, NJ – Approximately 400 motorcycles took off from the Deutscher Club at noon on Sunday, riding to remember two fallen heroes, William Waterson and Jason Dunham, in the eighth annual escorted ride that bears the men’s names.
The riders represented law enforcement, military and motorcycle clubs, hard-core bikers and casual enthusiasts.
“We always say ‘never forget',” event organizer and Clark PBA Local #125 president Danny Joy said. “But they prove it. We’re here to keep everyone’s memory alive of our fallen heroes. This is the camaraderie of the biker community.”
Waterson, a United States Marine veteran, is the only Clark police officer to die in the line of duty. A United States Marine corporal, Dunham fought in Iraq, where Joy was stationed. Dunham died eight days after throwing himself on a grenade to save other Marines in his unit during enemy engagement in Karabilah, Iraq.
“We’re here to honor a Medal of Honor recipient [Dunham],” Ack, a member of the Leatherneck Nation Motorcycle Club, said. Ack is a Marine Corps veteran who served during Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield.
A large contingent of the New Jersey chapter of Fourth Watch gathered for the ride. They are one of six Fourth Watch chapters nationwide, a motorcycle club made up of military, police, fire and EMS workers. The North Jersey chapter is named in memory of David Lemagne, badge 834, a Port Authority police officer and paramedic who was killed on 9/11.
The ride roared through Clark, then Scotch Plains and Fanwood, up into Watchung, then west on Route 78 into Warren before U-turning to return to Clark via the Garden State Parkway. Clark police units led the column of riders, escorted by NJ State Police motorcycles.
The annual ride is a fundraiser sponsored by Clark PBA Local #125. Monies raised are used to fund a scholarship awarded to Arthur L. Johnson High School students who have a connection to law enforcement. Michael DeMarco and Alexandra Grady were 2016 scholarship winners.